It hasn't been the best week for some marathon organizers. The PNC Milwaukee Marathon was measured too short and several runners who ran Boston Marathon qualifiers were told their times didn't count. Now there's this story out of Venice, Italy.
The lead pack of East African runners (Abdulahl Dawud, Gilbert Kipleting Chumba, Kipkemei Mutai, David Kiprono Metto) were following a lead motorcycle before it veered off the course at the 25 kilometer mark. The Kenyan favorites found themselves few hundred meters off the course before being re-directed. It is estimated that the mistake cost them two minutes.
This allowed for Italian Eyob Faniel, who runs for the Venice Marathon Club, to make up his one-minute gap on the leaders and win the race in 2:12:16. He became the first Italian to win the race in 22 years.
Watch the finish below:
Now there's a little bit to clarify here. A lot of headlines have made it sound like a random Average Joe won the race but Faniel is an Eritrean-born distance runner who boasts some solid personal bests on the track including a 29:04.55 for the 10,000 meters and 63-minute half marathon. His run on Sunday improved on his personal best of 2:15:39 from his marathon debut in Florence last year.
For further context, if Faniel was an American, his time would be the third-best of 2017. Daniele Meucci's sixth place finish at the IAAF World Championships in August in 2:10:56 is the fastest time by an Italian so Faniel is likely a candidate for an Olympic team spot in 2020.
A relatively unknown runner? Sure but he's not just some random fuel-belt wearing jogger who got off the couch and won off a costly error.